Bird by Bird

I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I borrowed a copy from the library, on a whim, several weeks ago. I’d heard about it before – I’d heard really good things about it. I’ve seen one of her TED Talks, and she seems like a really genuine, down-to-earth person. She seems like someone I could learn a lot from.

(Arguably, you could learn a lot from just about anyone. It just depends on whether you actually want to learn those things or not.)

I probably hadn’t even finished the introduction before I started considering getting a copy of my own. I almost made it halfway before I decided to buy my own copy, and returned the one I was reading to the library.  Continue reading


Birds Art Life Death

Last year I went to the Brisbane Writers Festival, and attended a panel discussion in which I practically fell in love with a book I’d never heard of before, let alone read: Birds Art Life Death by Kyo Maclear. All it took was for Maclear to talk about the book a bit, and I knew this was something I had to read. And it wasn’t that she was just really good at pitching it – she was just explaining what the book was about, and it seemed to be everything I wanted to read.  Continue reading

and so it ends

This was just going to be a short post to say that I have, on this day, finished reading Anna Karenina (by Leo Tolstoy, not that I really need to state that), but, as it turns out, I’m not very good at writing short posts (surprise, surprise). Still, I’ll try to keep this kind of short, or at least not terribly long. (It’s less than 700 words – does that count?)

No spoilers here – just some general comments, and quotes from other sources.

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Thursday Doors – Archive Books (a bibliophile’s haven)

I was out in the city last week to do some Christmas shopping. And by “Christmas shopping” I mean that I had to buy one gift for my workplace Secret Santa. Shouldn’t be hard, right? Well, no, not usually, except that it was really busy and crowded everywhere. Plus I don’t overly like shopping to begin with.

After browsing through a few shops, feeling my patience diminishing, I retreated into a book store. Books make good presents, right? That was my pretence for going in there, but, really, it just felt more tranquil in the book store than out there, even if there were a lot more people than usual in the book store as well.

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I’m nearing the end of Anna Karenina – I’ve got less than 100 pages to go – and it saddens me so much to know that I must come to the end of this novel that has not only kept me company but comforted me and taught me various things over the last few months. I know I can always just re-read it, and I probably will one day, but there are so many other books I want to read that I’m sure it will be a very, very long time before I do.

The other day when I was reading (probably on the bus on the way to work), I paused for a moment, and looked at the book in my hands – I had the book open, but I was looking at the actual book, not the words on its pages. It brought a sad smile to my face to see how few pages remained in my right hand, while my left hand held all the chapters I’d already read. It was a bittersweet feeling.

I think I mentioned somewhere in a previous post that I wanted to write separate posts for each of the main characters (or, I suppose, for the ones I consider to be main characters) but I wasn’t sure if I would follow through with that idea. I’m still not sure if I will, but, at the very least, I wanted to write one for Levin – Konstantin Dmitrich Levin. [If you choose to read on, please note that there will be spoilers in this post.]  Continue reading

BWF: star struck

The Brisbane Writers Festival was held at the State Library, with panel discussions conducted in several auditoriums throughout the complex. As such, there were many concurrent talks at any one time, and it might’ve been hard deciding which one to go to at each time slot, but this particular one was an easy choice for me.

The second of three talks (yes, I’m doing this out of order) that I attended at the BWF was titled “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives” and, like the title suggests, was about finding extraordinary things within the ordinary and everyday. This was a panel discussion, chaired by Steven Lang, with guests David Cohen, Robert Drewe and Kyo Maclear. I was drawn to this event because it’s something that eternally fascinates me, and it’s part of the reason why I read blogs, and why I enjoy talking to customers at work, and why I usually try to be the one asking questions in a conversation, etc, etc. Continue reading